FOOD SECURITY FOR AFRICA; A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH.
A few years ago there were approximately 2 million people in Nairobi. Today the figure stands at around 8 million people and the number is projected to be 8 million people in Nairobi by 2030. The story is virtually the same all over major African countries and this is alarming is due to rural-urban migration which in most cases involves the youth. The rural areas have been left desolate with no one to do sustainable farming so that we can support fully the huge populations that are coming over to the cities. The old men who have been left in the villages with huge tracts of arable land do not have energy and adequate knowledge for practicing modern farming.
With the current population growth rate, Africa may not be able to sustain itself in terms of food security if nothing is done. This can be achieved only by employing modern and sustainable forms of farming. For instance mechanization should be encouraged among the farmers as a way of increasing efficiency and productivity. Instances where human labor is used in most farming should be replaced with machines which can do the work efficiently and with precision especially during application of fertilizers and planting. When it comes to harvesting, machines help lessen up the work which in other words saves time in harvesting and storage hence reducing the amount of food that goes to waste due to poor handling techniques. Irrigation should be at the fore front in our budgetary allocations to ensure enough wells are drilled in dry areas to provide watering solutions for plants at such areas.
Farmers should also be trained on which types of seeds or varieties to plant in line with the specific soil type and weather conditions. Our research institutions such as KALRO (Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research organization) are doing research everyday to try and determine the various varieties that can withstand various weather conditions and certain soils. The tolerance limits of such crops help the researchers in advising farmers accordingly which in turn help reduce the number of losses incurred by the farmers by practicing ignorantly archaic methods which are no longer used. The problem however arises in that some of the farmers do not take the advice they are given and in turn end up learning late when losses have already been incurred. We need to mobilize our farmers about modern age technologies used in farming and encourage them to embrace them in totality.
Nairobi for instance has lots of land in buildings tops which can be good areas for practicing agriculture. Vegetable gardens, corn, wheat and even fodder can be grown in such places which in turn can help boost agricultural produce locally and within institutional levels. There is nothing funny in trying this new idea which later on or in the near future could be the trend. The issue of land fragmentation in most African countries should decline if we are to make it in terms of large scale farming which will be needed in the near future too so that enough can be produced to sustain our numbers. Having many herds of low cattle quality is not doing us good. Instead having a few quality heads of cattle can earn lots of income and reduce the effects such herds do to soil erosion which in turn affects the quality of agricultural produce.
We have the potential to be a solution to our problems in terms of food security only if we can employ proper agriculture and sustainable farming techniques. Let our farmers be empowered on this and our story will begin to change.